The Karnataka government on Tuesday decided to impose weekend curfew and extend the night curfew for two weeks in the state in view of the alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in which senior ministers including Revenue Minister Ashoka, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and Higher Education Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, medical experts and senior officials participated.
The meeting was held in view of the sudden jump in number of COVID cases in the state. Karnataka logged 2,479 cases on Tuesday and four fatalities. Since January 1, the city has been logging over 1,000 cases daily. "We have decided that barring 10th and 12th classes, schools will be shut for rest of the classes in Bengaluru. These COVID rules will come into effect from Wednesday night," Ashoka told reporters.
He said there will be a weekend curfew for two weeks from 10 PM on Friday to 5 AM on Monday. All essential services will continue, he added. Further, the government decided to extend the night curfew, which ends on January 7, for two weeks.
The Minister also said that there should not be a congregation of more than 200 people in marriages in open places and 100 in marriage halls. There should also be 50 per cent occupancy in pubs, bars, cinema halls and malls and those working in and visiting these places should have taken both doses of the COVID vaccine.
Also, the government decided to make a negative RT-PCR test report mandatory for those coming to the state from Maharashtra, Kerala and Goa, the minister said. Government offices will have to follow the Government of India guidelines, he explained. Ashoka told reporters that no rallies or political events with large congregation will be allowed in the city.
His statement came as the Congress plans to organise a march from Mekedatu in Ramanagara district to Bengaluru on January 9 to urge the government to start work on the Mekedatu balancing reservoir across the Cauvery river to supply drinking water in Bengaluru and neighbouring districts.
Speaking to reporters, Sudhakar said those coming from high-risk nations will be sent for institutional quarantine if they test positive for COVID. The travellers can choose hotels of their choice to stay in quarantine which can be a budget or a star hotel. "We cannot send the foreigners home who test positive," Sudhakar said.
Sudhakar said there were discussions about the availability of medicines, hospitals, ICU beds and other necessary arrangements. He also said that the government decided to treat Bengaluru as a 'state' while dealing with COVID-19 cases. "We are treating Bengaluru as a state because it has become an epicentre of COVID just like any other metropolitan city. Almost 80 to 90 per cent cases are coming from Bengaluru only in Karnataka," the Health minister explained.
Further, Sudhakar said that teams led by IAS officers have been assigned different roles in COVID management to handle the pandemic at a micro level.
With inputs from PTI.